Nate Robertson, who's been hideous for the Tigers this year (and who the M's missed in the Comerica series), goes tonight. Robertson at one point looked like he would turn into a pretty good pitcher, but he has actually regressed over the past two seasons despite only being 30 years old. He has a poor strikeout rate for a guy who throws pretty hard. Expect some runs to be scored tonight.
I think the hubbub about making Brandon Morrow a starter shows how little the M's have in the way of MLB-ready starters in the minor league system. Morrow has been great in limited action this year, but he still walks a ton of guys, which is a little harder to get away with as a starter. Here's another article about Morrow's apparent non-transformation into a starter this season.
The Times' Larry Stone writes that the M's have to start looking to the future now, but doesn't really offer many ideas other than calling Jeff Clement back up and making Morrow a starter (and, I guess, getting Ryan Feierabend back up when he's healthy again). Again, this makes you wonder if the M's have many decent options in the minors right now. Calling up Victor Diaz isn't going to make this season any better.
Around the Minors
Tacoma got back-to-back home runs from Shawn Garrett and Victor Diaz, but lost 5-4 to Fresno on Thursday night. The Rainiers scored all four runs in the fourth inning and had a 4-2 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth, when an error by shortstop Oswaldo Navarro helped the Grizzlies tie the game. Scott Shoemaker gave up an RBI single in the seventh that provided the winning margin for Fresno. Tacoma starter Robert Rohrbaugh was charged with three earned runs in his six innings of work, but he did have a season-high eight strikeouts.
West Tenn found itself in a 4-0, first-inning hole and never recovered, losing 7-2 to Mississippi. Justin Thomas was tagged for six earned on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings. Jeffrey Dominguez was 2-for-3 with a double for the Jaxx, who scored once in the sixth and once in the eighth after the game was mostly out of reach.
Budding slugger Gregory Halman did it again for High Desert on Thursday night, belting his 15th homer of the season as the Mavs beat Stockton 4-1. James McOwen also homered for the Mavs, who were held to four hits. Keith Renaud had a breakthrough start, giving up a season-low one run in his 5 1/3 innings. Over his last three starts, Renaud has started to get his control together. He walked 34 batters in his first 39 1/3 innings this year, but has now walked only six in the last 15+ innings. He's holding righties to a .206 average on the season, so if he can throw strikes good things will happen. Shawn Kelley struck out the side in the ninth to pick up the save. Kelley has not allowed an earned run in nine innings of work since being called up from Wisconsin.
Juan Diaz drove in both runs --- one on a squeeze play, as Wisconsin got by Kane County 2-1. Phillippe Aumont had another impressive outing, throwing five scoreless innings and striking out six. Aumont's ERA dropped to 1.50 on the year. The big guy has been murder on righties this year, holding them to a ridiculous .129 average. Ryan Moorer was also impressive in two scoreless innings of relief, and Keith Meyer worked the ninth for the save.
Tacoma: 26-27, 3rd in PCL Pacific North, 9.5 GB
West Tenn: 33-21, T-1st n SOU North, 3.0 GA
High Desert: 25-29, T-1st in CAL South, 1.0 GA
Wisconsin: 22-27, 5th in MID Western, 14.5 GB